FOR KICKS: Rhoda Mulaudzi challenges Jonna Andersson. Photo: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX

Banyana Banyana has captured the attention and hearts of South Africans.

And they have done it in a way that most of our major national sports team have failed to do in a long time.

For most fans, it feels like coach Desiree Ellis and her determined team of scrappers have come out of nowhere to hog the spotlight.

It’s come as a surprise to most of the players too.

These young ladies are still quite shy in front of the cameras. But yoh, do they look the part on the pitch.

They held their own in their double-header with two top-10 sides in Cape Town in the last week.

And on top of the confidence and recognition that they built up last year, this will only help them grow as individuals and a team.

OFF-FIELD DRAMA: Bok captain Siya Kolisi. Photo: PHANDO JIKELO/INLSA

Already, midfielder Leandra Smeda has moved from a Lithuanian side to a more prominent league in Sweden and striker Ode Fulutudilu sealed a transfer to Malaga in Spain from our local league.

By the time their next assignment begins next month at the Cyprus Cup, the squad's every move will be eagerly anticipated, before they go to the World Cup in France - the first time Banyana have qualified.

And in a year when both the Springboks and the Proteas are preparing for their own showpieces, the attention on Banyana is on the same level.

I’m sure the hype around the Boks and the cricket team will build as the year goes one.

The Proteas need to find their balance before they can seriously be considered as genuine title contenders.

Coach Ottis Gibson’s side has lacked consistency for a while now.

And there have been signs of the top-line batsmen looking jittery, even on our own wickets.

If we can’t handle the bounce in our own backyard, I will be paaping if I were Gibson.

English pitches offer way more assistance to bowlers than ours under the clouds of the northern summer.

And while that will obviously play into the skill set of our vuurwarme bowling attack, our batsmen really need to find their groove.

Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock have been up and down, while skipper Faf du Plessis is also looking shaky.

Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen still look like they need more time to find their feet at the top level, but I hope they get there soon.

DILEMMA: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. Photo: CHRIS RICCO/BACKPAGEPIX

Then we have the Boks.

Ahead of the Super Rugby season kickoff, there has already been some off-the-field drama.

The Siya Kolisi “quota” drama was overblown, but that’s already messed up the energy around the team.

It could work for the team, though, if they use that to show that there is unity in the squad. They will need it.

But you can expect the next five months of Super Rugby to throw up some huge selection dilemmas for coach Rassie Erasmus.

The boss and former flank forward has told his players that consistency and excellence alone will not get them to Japan.

They will need to show match-winning qualities too.

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